[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TTSS_Movie_6668.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:For a guy named "Smiley", he sure [[ActorAllusion looks]] [[IncrediblyLamePun serious]].]]

->'''Ricki Tarr:''' [[DefectorFromCommieLand She]] claimed to have information vital to the safeguarding of [[SecretIntelligenceService the Circus]].\\
'''George Smiley:''' Anything more?\\
'''Ricki Tarr:''' I said that she had information concerning a DoubleAgent.

'''''Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy''''' is an espionage thriller directed by [[LetTheRightOneIn Tomas Alfredson]] and adapted from the JohnLeCarre novel of the same name, the first in TheQuestForKarla trilogy. The film was released in September, 2011.

Set in the 1970s, George Smiley (Creator/GaryOldman), once a master spy for "[[SecretIntelligenceService the Circus]]", is [[MandatoryUnretirement pulled out of retirement]] by his former colleague Peter Guillam (Creator/BenedictCumberbatch) for {{one last job}}: rooting out a Russian mole from [[MoleInCharge among the upper echelon of the Circus' leadership]]. To do so, Smiley must dig into some of the most dramatic incidents in recent Circus history: the tale of AWOL spy Ricki Tarr (Creator/TomHardy), the ousting of former chief "Control" (Creator/JohnHurt), the leadership coup that put Percy Alleline (Toby Jones) in the top job, a botched operation in Hungary that resulted in the public wounding and capture of Jim Prideaux (MarkStrong), a covert intelligence source code-named "Witchcraft", and even the persistent rumours that Circus officer Bill Haydon (Creator/ColinFirth) has been having an affair with Smiley's wife. All this leads to a wider conspiracy that Smiley must unravel before the Russian spymaster known as Karla uses it to destroy the Circus.

The film has been a financial success and a critical darling, garnering a slew of nods from the {{BAFTA}}s and the British Independent Film Awards. GaryOldman received his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor, and the adapted screenplay and original score are nominated as well. Both Gary Oldman and Tomas Alfredson have expressed a willingness to return for a sequel based on ''Smiley's People'', the third book in Le Carre's TheQuestForKarla trilogy [[note]]the 1980s miniseries also skipped over the second book, ''The Honourable Schoolboy'', which would require some expensive location filming[[/note]].

The page for the original novel (and the rest of the trilogy) can be found [[TheQuestForKarla here]]; the BBC miniseries starring AlecGuinness as George Smiley are [[Series/TheQuestForKarla here]].

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!Tropes present in this work include:
* ActorAllusion: It seems that John Hurt [[Literature/NineteenEightyFour always had a lot of experience]] [[Film/VForVendetta with British political extremes and secret services]].
* AdaptationalSexuality: A minor example, but [[spoiler:Peter]] is portrayed as gay in this movie.
* AdaptationDistillation: The order of events are changed and one character is merged.
* AllStarCast
* AmbiguouslyGay: Haydon is bisexual, but just ''how'' "inseparable" he and Prideaux are is never made clear. Their relationship is certainly intense.
* AnachronicOrder: Just like the original novel. The film uses a clever technique to help the viewer keep track of the flashbacks--at the beginning, shortly after his forced retirement from the Circus, Smiley is shown buying a new pair of glasses in a different style. So the flashbacks to Control's time in power are immediately recognisable because Smiley is wearing his old pair of glasses.
* BewareTheQuietOnes: Smiley.
* {{Blackmail}}: Smiley threatens to [[spoiler: deport Toby Esterhase to Vienna, likely ensuring his assassination]] unless he reveals the address of the London safe house.
* BloodIsSquickerInWater: [[spoiler: Boris]] winds up eviscerated in a bathtub.
* BoomHeadshot: The fates of [[spoiler: Irina and Haydon. Though Haydon's is [[PrettyLittleHeadShots more of a "pop" than a "boom"]]]].
* BowtiesAreCool: Toby Esterhase is never seen without one.
* BrokenBird: Irina
* BeingGoodSucks: [[spoiler: Irina puts her life on the line to reveal there is a mole at the Circus, her reward is to be tortured and shot in front of Prideaux. On the other hand, she was actually trying to sell the identity of her allies for her own benefit, so while what happens to her definitely sucks, it's not the consequence of "being good."]]
** Most of the secret agents - apparently doing a difficult, dangerous job out of loyalty to their country doesn't get anyone much in the way of rewards. If they're not murdered in the course of their duties, then they get to retire with a severance package so paltry that the two retired agents we see are working as an au pair and a schoolteacher to make ends meet. Oh, and for the ones still working in the service: good luck having a happy home life! It seems like the scene where [[spoiler:Guillam has to go home and kick his boyfriend out, for fear that the man will be used against him]], only exists to reinforce this.
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: The mole has been outed and assassinated for his treachery, Smiley's wife has come home and he has been promoted to head of the Circus and has a new protege. But Irina was tortured and killed and Ricki Tarr is devastated. Prideaux has killed his best friend and three senior officers' careers are destroyed and they have to live with the fact that they inadvertently helped the Russians. Plus, there seems to be no indication that Guillam is going to get his boyfriend back]].
* BlatantLies: [[TheMole The Mole's]] confession is bullshit. We never really learn why he joined MoscowCentre.
* ButtMonkey: Toby Esterhase.
** Guillam to some extent: his reward for being Smiley's assistant and doing the dangerous and distasteful legwork of the investigation is [[spoiler: having to make his lover, who is male, leave him without telling him the truth of the situation]] in case his involvement in the case brings his personal life under scrutiny.
** [[spoiler: Prideaux]] counts as well: he is tortured for months, returns to England only to be kicked out of the service and forced to take a job as a schoolteacher, manages to bond with a kid only to [[spoiler: shove him away upon realization that he's turning the kid into himself]], and ends up [[spoiler: killing his best friend/possible lover at the end of the film]].
* {{Literature/Casabianca}}: Guillam recites this to test the hidden recorders in the safehouse. Likely for RuleOfSymbolism (and for reasons of copyright), given the poem's association with the obsolescent values of the past, as in the novel it was a HollywoodToneDeaf rendition of "Old Man River".
* ChekhovsGun: The lighter Smiley gives to Karla.
* CodeName: The trailer explains that the film's title is derived from code names given to the potential moles.
* ColdWar
* CompositeCharacter: Collins's function in the story remains the same. But he is given the name of another character, Jerry Westerby.
* CreatorCameo: John Le Carré appears as a sozzled spy at the Christmas party scene.
* ColdBloodedTorture: Prideaux is subjected to it. [[spoiler:Irina clearly was too by the looks of her when she was brought in]].
* DeathByAdaptation: [[spoiler: Tufty Thesinger]]. Played with for [[spoiler:Jim Prideaux, who we find out is alive halfway through the film]]. Also, Prideaux explicitly witnesses [[spoiler: Irina]]'s death, which was only referred to in the book ([[spoiler: in the book, Smiley received a tip-off about Moscow Centre executing a female prisoner, and strongly suspected that it was her]]).
* DemotedToExtra: Fawn, who does not even merit an introduction in this version.
* DirtyCoward: Toby Esterhase, exemplified by his sobbing terror at the thought of being deported back to Hungary.
* DyeingForYourArt: Oldman's hair (lighter) and waistline (heavier).
** BenedictCumberbatch as well - Guillam's hair is blonde, while Mr. Cumberbatch is naturally a ginger.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: Early in the film Smiley is riding in a car with the others, who all try ineffectively to swat a bee, while Smiley simply watches its movement and winds down the window at exactly the right time to allow it to escape. This foreshadows his technique of finding the mole not through brute force but by clever entrapment.
* EverybodyKnewAlready: That Bill Haydon was Ann Smiley's lover. It turns out [[spoiler:Haydon deliberately let Smiley know as part of a BatmanGambit by Karla]].
* FaceDeathWithDignity: [[spoiler:Bill Haydon, who realises in one glance how badly he betrayed Prideaux]].
* TheFaceless: Karla and Ann Smiley. [[RuleOfSymbolism This is not unintentional]].
* FatalFlaw: Smiley loves his wife, no matter how badly she treats him. Smiley thinks that Karla's fanaticism is his. [[spoiler: Bill Haydon's]] is pride; he thought he couldn't be caught, and he played right into Smiley's hands.
* FlatCharacter: We don't learn much about Roy [[MeaningfulName Bland]] except that he flies under the radar and isn't a massive jerk like Alleline, Esterhase, and Haydon.
* FlyCrazy: In Smiley's car. A bit of {{Foreshadowing}} in that the other characters ineffectively swat at it while Smiley just watches it and opens his window at just the right moment so it leaves--suggesting how his method of finding the mole differs from others'.
* FourTemperamentEnsemble: The suspected moles -- George Smiley (melancholic), Bill Haydon (phlegmatic), Roy Bland (leukine), Toby Esterhause (sanguine), and Percy Alleline (choleric).
* GetOut: A sign of Control's increasing breakdown. "OUT! ALL OF YOU!"
** Percy Alleline to Peter Guillam, after accusing Peter of being in contact with Tarr.
** Haydon gives a curt "Out!" after discovering Prideaux has been shot in Hungary.
* GetRichQuickScheme: Percy Alleline's Witchcraft source is the intelligence version of this. Control refused to believe in Witchcraft's genuineness, which was part of the why he was deposed as head of the Circus.
-->'''Smiley''': Control didn't believe in miracles and he didn't believe in Witchcraft, but you were lazy and you were greedy and so you hounded him out of the Circus and [[spoiler: you let Karla in]].
* GoodIsNotNice: Except for TheMole, all of the main characters are trying to do the right thing. It doesn't stop them from being pricks about it. The only 'nice' characters are Connie Sachs, Irina, and Ricki Tarr.
* HandicappedBadass: Prideaux's pupils are [[Literature/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame mocking his crooked back]] when an owl flies out of the chimney. Prideaux swats it out of the air and kills it with just two blows from a ruler. Cue StunnedSilence.
* HeroicBSOD: Control when he's informed that Operation Testify has gone belly up. He refuses to give the duty officer any instructions on how to handle the crisis; just sits staring at him in silence.
* HeyWait: Peter has just stolen the file when he's detained and grilled about his connection to Tarr. It's not surprising he flips out and assaults Tarr afterwards.
* HollywoodSilencer: [[spoiler:Jim uses a silenced rifle that goes ''fwip!'' to finally kill Bill Haydon]]. It seems a little out of place, but [[http://www.imfdb.org/wiki/Tinker_Tailor_Soldier_Spy_(2011) IMFDB]] notes that it's a .22 LR BRNO 452--[[ShownTheirWork a rifle that, when loaded with subsonic ammunition, really is as quiet as it is portrayed]].
* HopeSpot: [[spoiler:Irina's appearance at Prideaux's interrogation]].
* ItWasAGift: Smiley's lighter. He makes the mistake of letting Karla walk off with it; [[MagnificentBastard years later Karla uses it to throw suspicion on Smiley]].
-->"It was a gift. ''For George, from Ann. All my love''."
* ItsPersonal: Why [[spoiler: Prideaux kills]] TheMole.
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique / BrownNote: Prideaux is strapped to a chair with headphones over his ears wired to a tape recorder that plays loud noises at random intervals.
* KarmaHoudini: Karla escapes [[spoiler: the collapse of Witchcraft]] unscathed. Smiley planned this for TheMole, [[spoiler: but he was killed by Jim Prideaux]] before he could be traded.
* KinkMeme: Yep, even Smiley [[RuleThirtyFour gets in on the action]]. No surprises that Tarr/Guillam and Prideaux/Haydon are the two most popular pairings. Found [[http://ttss-kink.livejournal.com/ here]]
* MandatoryUnretirement: Smiley is forced out of the Circus along with Control due to the disaster in Budapest (Jim Prideaux's death) and Percy Alleline's aggressively pushing his new, GetRichQuickScheme-esque new source, Witchcraft, which he (and the rest of the British government) believe will restore the Circus to the CIA's good graces and get them to start sharing intelligence. Smiley's unofficially brought back on to head the MoleHunt.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: Several characters suffer this when they are told that there's a mole and [[spoiler: the Witchcraft material is completely useless]].
* TheMole
** MoleInCharge: The Russian mole is believed to be one of the top five (including [[spoiler: Smiley]], whom Control suspected, despite their being hand-in-glove) people in the Circus.
* MoleHunt: The book may have been the original.
* MontageOut: How the film ends, as the film silently wraps up the storylines of the major characters.
* MoscowCentre: The film's BiggerBad. The film revolves around ferreting out their agent(s) in the Circus, but their personnel are decidedly peripheral, acting mainly as puppetmasters.
* MythologyGag, overlapping with GeniusBonus: it seems odd how Smiley is not a codename from the Tinker, Tailor nursery rhyme, right? Well, remember that Jim Prideaux asks at one point if he is a "beggar man, thief?" Then recall how the nursery rhyme continues: ''rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief''. And, yes, "beggar man" was Smiley's codename in the original book.
* NiceShoes: Haydon wears a pair of orange suede desert boots, as did Alec Guiness' Smiley in Series/TinkerTailorSoldierSpy
* NoNameGiven: Control, Karla.
* NostalgiaFilter: Connie reminisces lovingly about what good times she had with "the boys" at Sarratt in the 1940s, until Smiley finally points out that they were there because of WorldWarTwo.
** Which doesn't stop her regarding it as a golden time when 'men could be proud to be English'.
* NothingPersonal: Bill Haydon re sleeping with Ann.
* NotSoDifferent: Smiley to Karla.
--> '''Smiley''' (in reminiscence): We are not so different, you and I. We've both spent our lives looking for the weaknesses in one another's systems.
* NotSoStoic: Smiley asks [[spoiler: Haydon why Karla didn't have him try for [[MoleInCharge Control's job]]]].
-->'''[[spoiler: Haydon]]:''' ''I'm not his bloody office boy!''
-->'''Smiley:''' WHAT ARE YOU THEN, BILL?!
-->'''[[spoiler: Haydon]]:''' (beat) [[VillainousBreakdown I'm someone who's made his mark]].
* PerpSweating: Smiley takes this trope UpToEleven with [[spoiler: Toby Esterhase]] by landing a ''fucking plane'' two feet away during their conversation. [[DontTryThisAtHome This is ridiculously unsafe]].
* PetTheDog: As a point of suspicion. One would expect Jim Prideaux to be killed after he's interrogated by the Soviets, but instead he's sent home in one piece - implying that the mole pulled strings to protect him. Why? [[spoiler:Because the mole is Haydon, who actually wept in distress when he found out Prideaux had been captured]].
** Though Karla doesn't miss the chance to put suspicion on Smiley by showing Prideaux the lighter he got from Smiley.
* PrecisionFStrike: "I don't know about you, George, but I'm feeling seriously underfucked." The first use of the F-word in the movie; also the most memorable, and a CrowningMomentOfFunny.
* PrettyLittleHeadshots: [[spoiler:With the prettiest little tear of blood running down from the bullet hole just below Bill Haydon's completely intact eye]]. Averted when the next shot shows the body laying face down on the ground, and you can see who knows what through the huge gaping hole on the back of the skull.
** Also the bystander shot in Hungary.
* ReluctantRetiree: When Control is forced to leave, he announces that Smiley is retiring with him. It's implied that Control had come to believe that Smiley was the mole. Ironically Smiley is too loyal to protest at this unasked-for resignation.
* RightBehindMe: Twice. First time, Peter Guillam is just about to escape the Circus after grabbing some secret files for Smiley, only for Roy Bland to appear right behind him in the same lift. The second, Toby Esterhase himself is leaving, as the lift door opens to reveal Peter waiting for him.
* RuleOfSymbolism: We never see the faces of either Karla, Smiley's greatest enemy, or his wife, Lady Ann. This is probably to indicate that both people are, on some level, a complete mystery to him. The only thing he really knows about Karla is that he's a fanatic, and the only thing he really knows about Ann is that he loves her. As an intelligence officer, this makes both of them his greatest challenges, and yet he also believes (wrongly) that these are the most important things about them.
* SayingTooMuch: Smiley in his attempted recruitment of Karla, distracted by troubles at home.
-->"I kept harping on about his damn wife. Telling him more about me than...I should have walked out of course."
* TheSeventies: The film revels in the time period.
* SlashedThroat: How [[spoiler: Tufty Thesinger]] meets [[spoiler: his]] DeathByAdaptation.
* SmugSnake: Percy Alleline and Toby Esterhase, after they take over the Circus. They have little, if any, respect for veterans like Control, Smiley (both of whom they had a hand in forcing out), or Connie Sachs.
* StopOrIWillShoot: A Hungarian agent shoots Prideaux InTheBack as he's walking away, even though the alley is blocked off by other agents. The KGB are furious because [[IWantThemAlive they wanted him alive]] and there was no chance of him escaping anyway.
* StrayShotsStrikeNothing: Prideaux realises he's in a trap and starts walking way from his contact. A Hungarian agent panics, rushes into the street and fires a warning shot...[[PrettyLittleHeadshots right into the head]] of a woman breast-feeding a baby.
* SpyCouple: Irina and Boris posing as married trade delegates.
* SpyFiction
* SoundtrackDissonance: [[spoiler:At the end, Julio Iglesias perky cover of 'La Mer' plays as a montage of the Christmas party, Bill Haydon being shot by Jim Prideaux, a distraught Ricki Tarr looking in a shop window and Smiley ascending the stairs of the Circus to take his place as head of MI6]].
* StraightGay: Unlike the book, [[spoiler: Peter Guillam]] is portrayed as homosexual in the film. It's not even revealed until [[spoiler: partway into the movie, when we see Guillam asking his lover to leave]].
* TearsOfBlood: [[spoiler:When Bill Haydon is shot by Jim Prideaux with a small calibre bullet through the head, a single teardrop of blood runs down his cheek, matching the SingleTear shed by Jim]].
* TitleDrop: In the trailer only, which alters Control's dialogue when he's explaining the code names to Prideaux.
* TheStoic: [[IronicName Smiley]], obviously.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: One noted comment on the film is how complicated the plot becomes at times, with some reviewers even joking that you may need to bring along a notebook to keep up with all of the plotlines and characters.
* TheWatson: Peter Guillam.
** [[BenedictCumberbatch Which is kind of funny]] [[Series/{{Sherlock}} when you think about it]].
* YourCheatingHeart: Ann Smiley. Averted in the case of Ricki Tarr, whose daughter and common-law wife don't exist in this adaptation.
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